“I don’t have time to ____ (cook, meal prep, plan, etc.).” This is a phrase I hear often from clients, friends, family members, and across the internet. But eating well doesn’t have to take a lot of time. Sure, it likely takes some planning and prep, but it can be as minimal or involved as you would like.
Let’s start with breakfast as it is often the time of day that people report not having enough time to stop and prepare something to eat. I agree with the old saying that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Eating a balanced, plentiful breakfast helps to balance out hormones; return the body from a fasted (sleep) state to a well-fed, happy state; and sets the tone for the rest of the day.
Quick & Easy Breakfast Ideas
Smoothies. Smoothies can be prepped ahead of time by portioning out items into a freezer bag in which you simply have to add liquid and mix or they can be made ahead of time by blending and then storing in a mason jar or other container with a lid in the fridge so you can quickly grab and go (great if others in the household are still sleeping when you are making breakfast – no blender noise!). Some favorites of mine include this Green Pineapple Smoothie and this Blueberry Beet Smoothie.
Overnight Oats: Overnight oats are another way to prepare breakfast ahead of time so it is ready to eat first thing in the morning. Mixing oats, milk or milk substitute, and toppings in a bowl or container and placing in the fridge overnight and that’s it! You can get creative with your toppings such as Peanut Butter Banana Overnight Oats or Strawberry Cheesecake Overnight Oats.
Eggs. Eggs are a great, quick breakfast item. You can even cook eggs in the microwave in less than 2 minutes. Add some spinach, diced veggies, and/or turkey breast; top with some cheese or avocado, and you have a well balanced meal. Another great idea is these Breakfast Burritos or these Breakfast Egg Muffins.
Making sure to have snacks on hand when hunger strikes can really help to avoid the “hangry” or swinging through a drive through or gas station for a quick energy fix. Pack snacks in your purse, bag, car, office desk, etc. so you are never without a good option.
Good Snacking Options:
- Low-sodium beef or turkey jerky
- Almonds or other nuts
- Make-your-own trail mix with nuts, seeds, dried fruit, etc.
- Sunflower or pumpkin seeds
- Greek yogurt cups (I love Chobani and Siggis brands)
- Banana with nut butter
- Apple and string cheese
- Grab the Gold bars
Lunch & Dinner
A small amount of meal prep can go a long way in preparing quick and nutritious meals when you are short on time. Maybe on Sunday afternoon or Wednesday evenings you carve out time to prep for 1-2 hours. Cooking some lean meats, preparing some whole grains such as quinoa or brown rice, and chopping fresh vegetables to have on hand may make the difference between throwing together a balanced meal after work or stopping by a fast food establishment on your way home.
If you are going to be eating out, don’t be afraid to ask for dressing or sauces on the side, making substitutions, and asking how things were prepared.
The NourishWise app makes eating well on-the-go in the Nashville area even easier! Simply pull up the app, click on the restaurant you will be dining, and see what nutritious, balanced options are available. I love it because unlike online nutrition calculators, you only see the “healthy” options. This helps cut down on decision fatigue! Here’s some sample menu items you’ll find on NourishWise:
3 Crow Bar
The House Salad with Grilled Chicken at 3 Crow Bar is NW-approved:
Blue Coast Burrito
The 2 Tacos with Steak from Blue Coast Burritos is another great choice:
Photos & Nutritional Info provided by NourishWise
That is just the tip of the iceberg! With restaurants being continuously added, there is sure to be something for everyone. This is a great app and option if you’re trying to eat well while eating out.
Whether you’re struggling with meals, snacks, or eating on the go, I hope you found something in this post to be helpful. If you are looking for individualized nutrition coaching, visit my private practice website Nutrition for Endurance for more info.